From the November 2012 magazine.

November 2012: Alcoholism at Large

Why do we black out?
Some people are more likely than others to have blackouts due to differences in the way alcohol affects their brains, according to a new study. Researchers examined MRI brain scans conducted while 12 people with a history of blackouts and 12 people without a history of blackouts did a memory task. The volunteers did the memory task with and without alcohol.

“Our study’s findings suggest that some people are more likely to experience alcohol-induced blackouts than others due to the way alcohol affects brain activity in areas involved in self-monitoring, attention and working memory,” study author Reagan Wetherill of University of California, San Diego, said, adding, “Just because your friend may be able to drink a certain number of drinks and appear to be functioning fine, it does not mean that you or everyone else can.”

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